Crusader Kings II rambling

I picked up Crusader Kings II (CK) off Steam this weekend. It’s been a game I’ve wanted to play for some time, but figured it would be a $5 Steam sale game sooner or later. I paid full price for the all-DLC bundle, so I fully expect a 50% sale this weekend. That’s how those things always work, but happily CK has so far been worth the price.

I love these types of sim games, where the level of detail is silly and the systems are so complex that they make the EVE UI look like WoW. You literally spend the first few hours playing without knowing wtf is going on, and even now I’m sure I’m missing some major stuff. And I played ALL of the tutorials.

CK is in many ways a “watch what happens” type of game rather than a click-and-play game. I can’t really explain it well, other than to say that when ‘playing’ CK, you might not click or interact with the game for minutes at a time, and when you do click it’s usually to execute one action and go back to watching/waiting. It’s literally the furthest thing from a twitch game in every sense. Now I love that style, but I can very easily see how it would bore most gamers to tears.

Which is not to suggest that CK is light on decisions and strategy, because it has both in spades. And many of those decisions are long, LONG term ones; stuff that might not kick in or matter for decades of in-game time. Other actions have instant repercussions, and not ones that are easily predicted.

Speaking of decades, to me the coolest aspect of CK is that you don’t just play one ruler, but the heirs as well when you pass away. And believe me, you will pass away. CK is very accurate in that regard, and there are LOTS of different ways for people to die. Having children is key, and setting the laws how you need them to continue your kingdom/progress is critical as well. As blood lines mix, alliances form and break, kingdoms reform, and old enemies become friends. It’s all very cool to just watch, and even cooler when you ‘get it’ and start lining things up to take advantage of them.

If you still have no idea what kind of game CK really is, I’m sorry. Someone asked me on vent what game it’s most like, and after mumbling some nonsense for a bit, I just gave up. It sorta plays like Sim City, if you replace the “make buildings” part with “run a kingdom”. If you as the major could die. And have neighboring cities invade you. Sorta…

All I know is, CK so far is great at what it does.

Just don’t ask me what exactly it’s doing, because I’m still not sure…

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Random. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Crusader Kings II rambling

  1. Werit says:

    Ck2 is a lot of fun, I should write about it more. Except for succession wars… those can be a pain if you don’t have the right policy.

  2. thade says:

    Reading this post brought back memories of my first weeks playing Master of Orion 2.

  3. Anjin says:

    I haven’t sunk much time into CK2 yet, so I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve read several AARs about it, each one telling a story of the depth that I usually only see in Dwarf Fortress and the like. But it is killer intimidating. I shall have to chuck myself at the difficulty curve a few more times before I’m sure about what I’m supposed to be doing.

  4. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    At some point I will have to pick this one up, looks great.

  5. eudaimonean says:

    A fun only-in-CK2 story that happened to me:

    As a Norman King of Sicily I married into the Hungarian royal family. I thought this was a winner because the king had no sons and my wife stood to inherit, and then our son and mutual heir after that would join the two crowns in my dynasty. But it went tits-up because after my father-in-law died, Hungary deposed my wife and she was demoted to just Duke, with small holdings. Even worse, I stupidly had my wife raise our first son, and he became Hungarian, because I wanted to make sure he would get the support of Hungary when the crown passed to my dynasty. But that was out of the question now, so I needed to focus on maintaining good relationships with my existing Norman subjects. When I died the Norman vassals of my Kingdom wouldn’t like their new Hungarian King very much, and my Kingdom would be weaker because they’d contribute fewer troops to my campaigns (if they didn’t rebel outright).

    I took my younger second son away from my wife and quickly gave him a proper Norman tutor so he would get the right type of education. Then, I looked for an opportunity to piss off a vassal. It later came when the wife of one of my Counts hit on me. I cuckolded him, which obviously pissed him off. Making him the “Royal Fool” pissed him off even more. Raising his levies and having them sit at my capital while he paid their upkeep pissed him off even more. Eventually, he rebelled, just as I hoped. I crushed the rebellion, imprisoned him, and stripped him of his lands as punishment. This gave me the opportunity to appoint a new Bishop to the Cathedral I just conquered. I forced my Hungarian first son to become the bishop, taking him out of the line of succession. Now my Norman second son stands to inherit when I die. I hoped that the imprisoned rebel ex-count will survive until then, because if he does my son can release him at the start of the new reign as a show of mercy to stave off rebellion in the dangerous transition period.

    Except – disaster. My second son is assassinated. So my heir is in the church, and my spare is now dead. I’m pretty sure it was the same Countess that I previously had an affair with, because now her daughter, my bastard child, stands to inherit as my other heirs are all dead. I really don’t want to reward this behavior, but what can I do? She’s the only viable heir I have left that can carry on the family name. I have no choice but to officially acknowledge the bastard, giving her my family name, and now I’m trying to arrange a good matrilinear marriage for her so at least her sons will carry on the dynasty (instead of the dynasty of her husband.) At least my bastard daughter has awesome stats, which I had overlooked before because I thought she didn’t matter. But it turns out she inherited really high intrigue and diplomacy scores from her mom, that little murderous minx. She ruined my plans but I’m pretty sure the dynasty will be in good hands when I die… hopefully she doesn’t do anything to “hasten” the process.

    • Xyloxan says:

      Whoa, really fine story and nicely written!

    • thade says:

      This actually makes the game sound remarkably appealing. Thanks for this write-up! haha. Time to check it out.

    • Amalec says:

      Can you start a blog and just write this shit full time? Now I can’t wait for work to end so I can go home and play some CKII

      • eudaimonean says:

        Just check out the Paradox forums. There are tons of people who do highly detailed game recaps, with screenshots, in-character “diary” style entries, etc.

    • Chris K. says:

      Holy crap, you just made me buy a copy of the game

Comments are closed.